Keeping yourself hydrated under hot weather conditions is very important to avoid heat-related illness. Proper hydration becomes even more important when performing strenuous, physical activity in high temperatures. The more your body sweats under such conditions, the more fluid you need to replace. If you ever suffer from dehydration in hot weather, you are subjecting yourself to the following health risks:
- Heat stroke
- Heat exhaustion
- Heat cramps
- Heat rash
Here are 10 ways you can stay hydrated in hot weather to avoid heat realted illness:
1. Drink Before You Feel Thirsty
According to the CDC, it is important to drink fluids before you even begin to feel thirsty. Your body uses thirst to indicate that you are approaching dehydration. Rather than drinking to quench your thirst, it is healthier to continuously replenish fluids, even if you don't feel thirsty at all.
2. Go with Water Instead of Sugary Beverages
While a sugary beverage can help quench your thirst, it also carries excess calories that can be detrimental to your health. Since you have to hydrate your body with fluids more frequently under hot weather conditions, you'll be taking in more calories than you usually do if you look towards sugary beverages for hydration.
3. Keep a Water Bottle with You
Invest in a reusable water bottle and always keep it handy. You can replenish the water bottle's contents anytime you are near a sink, water dispenser or fountain. Even if you don't plan on doing any strenuous activity outdoors, having a water bottle on hand will allow you to drink your fluids regularly and before you feel thirsty.
4. Use Natural Flavoring in Your Water
Sometimes people have trouble drinking enough water to stay hydrated because they prefer something with flavor, and/or it's difficult for them to drink water when they aren't feeling thirsty. A little natural flavoring from a slice of fruit like lemon or strawberries, or some fresh cucumbers is a great way to add a little flavor to your water, without adding as much calories as drinking a soda.
5. Drink Sparkling Water
If the carbonation from soda is what makes it so appealing, you can get that same fizzy feeling from a bottle of sparkling water. It has all the bubbles and fizz of a soda, minus the calories. You can also opt for sparkling water the next time you are trying to eat healthy at a restaurant.
6. Avoid Alcoholic Beverages
Having a couple of frosty beers from the cooler sounds like a great idea after a fun-filled day of activities at the beach or by the pool, but it's not a good idea if hydration is your goal. While you might feel more refreshed at first, you're likely to feel dehydrated soon afterwards due to the effects of alcohol from all that beer. Alcohol is a diuretic and will cause you to urinate more frequently, so it's best to either limit yourself or not drink any at all.
7. Have a Sports Drink During Vigorous Exercise
Outdoor activities under hot weather can be quite common, especially during the summer. Biking, hiking, mountain climbing, white water rafting, beach volleyball or just a day playing recreational sports at the park are all common summer activities. There is a chance that your body will produce excessive sweat due to all these activities, compounded by the temperatures outside. Under such circumstances, a sports drink might be more useful than water since it can also replenish any nutrients lost in your sweat, plus it is one of the best ways to stay hydrated. Just keep in mind the calories.
8. Drink Cool Fluids
You can plan ahead for a day out under the sun by freezing some water bottles the night before; just make sure the bottles are freezer-safe. According to Healthfinder.gov, cool fluids can help encourage you to drink more during activity in hot weather. A cold bottle of water will not only help you stay cool, it will also help you to stay hydrated and entice you to drink before you even feel thirsty.
9. Track Your Water Intake
It can be very easy to forget to hydrate, especially if you're working outdoors and are more focused on the task at hand. Try setting an alarm on your watch or phone to help you remember when it is time to hydrate. This is why having a reusuable water bottle handy is important for staying hydrated.
10. Eat Your Water
Try adding more fruits and vegetables that are high in water content to your meals and snacks on the days you plan on being outside in hot weather conditions. You can even chill or freeze these hydrating fruits and veggies as a frozen treat or a cold snack. Here is a list of healthy, water-filled foods to choose from: